Fact check: Fauci's emails don't show he 'lied' about hydroxychloroquine
The claim: Emails show Dr. Anthony Fauci 'lied' about the effectiveness of hydroxychloroquine in treating COVID-19
The release of hundreds of Dr. Anthony Fauci's emails from the early days of the coronavirus pandemic has become fodder for online misinformation.
Social media users have claimed Fauci's emails contain the origins of the coronavirus (false) and show that he knew face masks were ineffective at preventing the virus's spread (missing context). Others have falsely claimed the emails, which The Washington Post and BuzzFeed News obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request, were leaked.
Now, the Gateway Pundit, a conservative website that has repeatedly published false claims about COVID-19, says the emails show Fauci "lied" about a coronavirus treatment that could have saved hundreds of thousands of lives.
What Fauci's emails show
Several of the emails obtained by The Washington Post and BuzzFeed News mention hydroxychloroquine.
The earliest mention of hydroxychloroquine in the cache of emails dates to Feb. 24, 2020, when Fauci responded to an inquiry about using the drug to treat COVID-19.
"Is there any indication/data to substantiate this claim from China (attached publication) that chloroquine/hydroxychloroquine can decrease COVID-19 infections and lung disease?" wrote Philip Gatti, a pharmacologist for the Food and Drug Administration.
Fauci replied: "There are no data in this brief report and so I have no way of evaluating their claim. There are a lot of these types of claims going around. I would love to see their data."
It's a line that Fauci repeated often over the next several weeks, both in public and in private: Claims that hydroxychloroquine could treat COVID-19 were based on anecdotal evidence.
Hydroxychloroquine isn't COVID-19 treatment
Hydroxychloroquine is not a proven treatment for COVID-19, as USA TODAY and several other independent fact-checking organizations have pointed out.
Large-scale clinical trials in several countries have found no benefit to using hydroxychloroquine to treat COVID-19.https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/factcheck/2021/06/05/fact-check-fauci-emails-hydroxychloroquine-dont-show-he-lied/7544007002/